Located in a former squat, which has been transformed into an artist collective, Chad and I find the headquarters of Zagreb Pride. It’s a colorful room with posters plastered on the wall highlighting past (and the current) Prides. Ten of the organizers of Zagreb Pride are meeting to discuss the newest developments concerning Saturday’s march.
While the Pride march in Zagreb has been going on since 2002, it has not been an easy journey. Many of the past parades have been marred by violence, and organizers continually have to battle with government officials and the police concerning details of how the march is held.
Sitting around on sofas the Zagreb Pride organizing committee discusses the latest issue affecting the pride. While the police have agreed to protect the marchers, they are standing firm that participants should not walk down the street. Instead, the police feel that the marchers should walk along the sidewalks – sandwiched between street kiosks and buildings. Another problem, the government has also approved a counter-demonstration by the youth branch of the HČSP (Croatian Pure Party of Rights), a right wing nationalist party in Croatia, to be held at the same time as the Pride march – and in the main square. Many feel this is inviting trouble, as the Pride march will be passing this same main square, making it so those participating in the Pride march will be coming in direct contact with those against the pride. However, as international monitors, including those from the EU and Amnesty International, will be in attendance there is the strong belief that those against the Pride will be kept under control by law enforcement.
After an hour or so of discussions, the meeting breaks and everyone disburses. While the issues the organizers are facing are frustrating, they are not uncommon, especially in places where homophobia makes it a struggle to publicly show pride.